On September 8, when the daily number of coronavirus cases rose to 28,550, the editor-in-chief of The edge received a strange email. “TC Sottek: We would like to inform you that you left your home three times yesterday. A fine of $ 59 has been added to your gov.us account. ”
The fine had risen from $ 35 on September 1 when Andrew J. Hawkins, a transportation reporter, received the same email. Both were encouraged to visit www.gov.us/coronavirus/penalty-payment/tracking for more information.
Unsurprisingly, the U.S. government didn’t suddenly take a more active role in the pandemic. It was a scam that wasn’t particularly aligned with the Trump administration’s practical approach to solving the coronavirus crisis. While the links looked real, the gov.us url only showed text. Once clicked, the link took users to su.onamoc.comano.us, a non-governmental domain, and then directed them to a fraudulent website.
The misstep was fully visible when Sottek posted the screenshot in a Verge The chat and responses from my coworkers were roughly, “I would pay $ 59 to leave my house three times in a day” and “Damn, I was hoping.” [www.gov.us/coronavirus/penalty-payment/tracking] was somehow actually a side. “
Don’t we all! At this point in the pandemic, I would welcome some stern papa energy from the federal government that would force people indoors if they had coronavirus. Instead, we’re taking a less-than-half-hearted approach, where small businesses stay closed forever and universities welcome students back to campus to send them home a few weeks later. Because they were throwing parties. Because they are students.
Back in March, another viral myth was circulating about the Trump administration’s national ban. “Please be advised,” it began. “Within 48 to 72 hours, the President will bring about what is known as the Stafford Act. Get everything you need to make sure you have it all for two weeks. Please forward to your network. “
The goal seemed to be to sow panic and fear and possibly encourage people to save toilet paper before they were denied entry to Trader Joe’s. In reality, the Trump administration forced states to enforce the lockdown, which enabled them to hold the Democratic governors responsible for the resulting economic free fall.
But back to the scams anyway. The quarantine grip seems to have had a few iterations. One that was sent to Verge Policy editor Russell Brandom says he came from a COVID lab. “The results of your last COVID-19 test are ready,” it says. “To access your results, please log in to the account you created when you registered. You must use the username and password you created for your personal account at www.theverge.com/covid19test. “This link also redirects to a scary site that has nothing to do with it The edge.
The coronavirus pandemic was a gift for scammers who have benefited from people’s confusion and fear of harassing them to hand over money. Everyone wants to know where the virus started, how it spread, when a vaccine might come – but very few of these questions have answers. In the information gap, scams thrive.
It’s ironic that the giveaway for these programs isn’t that Brandom didn’t do a recent COVID-19 test, or that Sottek didn’t actually have the virus. It is so, at this point in the pandemic, it is evident that the government has not invested so much in keeping people safe from the disease. In fact, Trump is now focused on reopening schools and calling on Democratic governors who will continue to enforce protection orders. The president, seeing that there is nothing to be gained by continuing to talk about coronavirus, appears to have largely moved on. The impostors, always persistent, have not.
Did you receive a fraudulent email or phone call? I want to hear about it! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t, you might be charged $ 10.